Firestorm Fan Rotating Header Image

WHO’S WHO: Update ’87 Podcast, Volume 5

Who's Who: The Definitive Podcast of the DC UniverseThe Fire and Water Podcast Presents… WHO’S WHO: UPDATE ’87 PODCAST, volume 5!

The fifth episode of our WHO’S WHO UPDATE ’87 podcast is now available — the show that dares to tackle one of DC Comics’ greatest publications! Each episode Rob and I cover a single issue of the legendary 1980s series, Who’s Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe. This time around we chat about WHO’S WHO: UPDATE ’87, volume 5, discussing characters such as Robin, Strikeforce Kobra, The Spectre, Titano, Vibe, and more! We wrap up with your Listener Feedback! This episode sponsored in part by!

Be sure to check out our Tumblr site for several pages from this Who’s Who issue:!

Have a question or comment? Send us an e-mail at:

You can find the fourth episode of WHO’S WHO: UPDATE ’87 on iTunes. Each episode is released as part of THE FIRE AND WATER PODCAST feed. While you’re on iTunes, please drop us a review. Alternatively, you may play the podcast using the player below or by right-clicking “download”, choosing “Save Target/Link As”, and selecting a location on your computer to save the file (149 MB).

Thanks to my co-host Rob Kelly, Sea King of THE AQUAMAN SHRINE, for doing all the post-production on this episode! Special thanks to Daniel Adams and Ashton Burge with their band The Bad Mamma Jammas for our fantastic Who’s Who theme song!

One of the coolest aspects of each Who’s Who issue was the amazing wrap-around cover! Check out this wild cover by Pablo Marcos! Click the image to enlarge.

Who's Who Update 87 #5 cover by Pablo Marcos

Here are your Firestorm-related Who’s Who entries from this issue…

First up is the Rocket Red Brigade! Firestorm’s own Pozhar (a.k.a. Mikhail Arkadin) wore Rocket Red armor in his earliest appearances (Fury of Firestorm #63, 64, and Annual #5 in 1987)! Click to enlarge.

Who's Who Rocket Red Brigade by Joe Staton

Up next are the Royal Flush Gang! Firestorm tussled with this card-themed bunch back in Justice League of America #203-205 in 1982. Click to enlarge.

Who's Who Royal Flush Gang by Chuck Patton

Then we have the Suicide Squad! Firestorm was hunted by the Squad back in Fury of Firestorm #64 (from 1987). Click to enlarge.

Who's Who Suicide Squad by Luke McDonnell

Finally we have a supporting character on TV’s The Flash — Vibe! Firestorm teamed-up with Vibe and the Detroit Justice League in Justice League of America #257 and the Legends limited series (back in 1986). Click to enlarge.

Who's Who Vibe by Luke McDonnell

Support Firestorm (and the WHO’S WHO podcast)! Fan the flame!

Related Posts with Thumbnails


  1. Great show as always, even if it ended with a melancholy side-trip of “no longer in continuity” characters.
    Let me be the first to correct you, Shag. Planet Master WAS a real character before Strike Force Kobra. He appeared in Detective Comics #296, which I happen to know because I HAVE. There is an Aquaman back-up feature in the same issue, and I picked it up about 20 years ago!
    I don’t know what plant *you* were mastering to think this was somebody else.

  2. Anj says:

    Another great show. As usual, I’ll try to be brief in the comments.

    1) Cover – I think this is a disaster as well. I think the older woman with the Watchmen is Janey, Dr. Manhatten’s first wife (the dark hair and blue dress was my tip off). But the Reaper looks like his neck has been snapped.

    2) Reaper – the best Reaper was the Phantasm in Batman:Mask of the Phantasm. I think an image of Batman with a gun should have been part of the surprint

    3) Spectre – happy to see Jim Aparo art on the character. Makes the most sense. I had forgotten about the Spectre leaving Corrigan’s body at this point. It sounds way too much like classic Negative Man.

    4) Starfinger – the best part of the character are his comely super-powered henchwomen, Starlight and Starbright and they aren’t mentioned at all! Paul Levitz really wanted Starfinger to be a big villain but he just never made it.

    5) Strikeforce Kobra – the team is so ludicrous, even Kobra in the surprint is bug-eyed, looking like he is saying ‘What the hell is going on here! Did I fund this??’

    6) Superboy – man, the pocket universe becomes a huge plot point in Superman, is used to reintroduce Supergirl, and plays a pivotal role in the 5YL run, helping completely rewrite all Legion history

    7) Watchmen – Most 2 page team spreads have the picture on the top and text on the bottom (like Suicide Squad here). I wonder if DC planned it this way so people might buy 2 copies to rip this out and hang as a mini-poster.

    8) Zymyr – I always thought that there was some Dune feel to Zymyr, a weird looking guy forced to live in a bubble and able to teleport people away sounds like the spice-addicted Guild Navigators in those books.

    9) The appendix was something of final nail in the coffin for Supergirl fans. Supergirl ‘no longer exists’ in the DCU. Dr Tzin-Tzin and Jonny Double never fought or teamed up with Supergirl respectively. Matrix Prime may not exist in the DCU. Reactron fought Power Girl, not Supergirl, in the DCU. Yep … Kara was scrubbed clean from the DCU and Who’s Who made sure we knew it.

    Anyways, looking forward to Update 88! Thanks for so much fun!

  3. Siskoid says:

    Cover (@Anj): Reaper’s head is askew because he’s being affected by Twister’s powers.

    Salakk: I have a weird fondness for the character because I essentially played him in a space opera-type RPG, and really did it based on Who’s Who descriptions because I wasn’t reading Green Lantern Corps!

    Spectre: Ugh. I hate the surprint here. Just the heads of his supporting cast and him going “Boo” at a common criminal in an alley. None of the flavor of the character, in ANY incarnation.

    Strikeforce Kobra: I wasn’t going to do any Who’s This? features for this issue. There are few characters for one thing, but also none that really fit the profile. I half-assed the start of an article on the Vanguard, but since their whole story is told in the entry, I wasn’t feeling it. However, doing some of the characters you say INSPIRED the Strikeforce, that sounds really interesting to me. Thanks Shagg!

    (more to come, I’m listening in between meetings and errands)

  4. Michael Chiaroscuro says:

    Good stuff as always, fellas. A few thoughts:

    1.) The cover is not one of my favorites either. The poses are mostly dull, and Robin turning away from the reader is just inexcusable.

    2.) The Reaper. Loved this guy, loved Year Two back in the day. I reread it a few years ago and wasn’t nearly as in love with it, but I still enjoyed it thoroughly. It’s pretty ludicrous in parts, but if you go with it then it’s a blast. I even enjoyed the follow up from years later, Full Circle, which reunited Mike Barr and Alan Davis. I too was bummed out when Davis dropped out after the first issue. I remember finding the McFarlane art interesting but a let-down following Davis, even though this is from the period of time where I actually liked Todd’s art a bit (that time didn’t last long). Alfredo Alcala always gave his inking a distinct look, I loved him so much. So sometimes I can see more of him in those issues than McFarlane. Anyway, the Reaper’s costume/armor design is fantastic. I always loved when Davis drew him.

    3.) Rocket Red Brigade. These guys never did anything for me either, Rob. I enjoyed when Dmitri was in the League, but otherwise found the suit designs so bulky and boring that, visually, I was just disinterested.

    4.) Royal Flush Gang. Now these guys I always enjoyed. And this version, from the early Bwahaha League era, I have a particular fondness for. I love Chuck Patton’s work on this piece, especially how he posed the Gang in the standard JLI cover pose – looking upward at the audience. Nice touch.

    5.) The Spectre. Beautiful entry by Jim Aparo. I’ve said it before but I love those Michael Fleisher-Jim Aparo Spectre stories, and I recently read the trade collecting the first 12 issues of the Ostrander series – WOW. Loved it. The Spectre’s a character I didn’t pay much attention to back then, but I’ve grown to appreciate more every year.

    6.) Strikeforce Kobra. I sort of remember these guys, even though I didn’t continue reading Outsiders for long after Batman left the book. It’s possible I only remember them from this issue of Who’s Who. I love Kobra, especially when drawn by Alan Davis (and Jim Aparo a close second), but this team looks convoluted and silly even for Barr’s BATO/Outsiders repertoire.

    Only part-way through, so I’ll come back later if I find anything else worth commenting on. But first, Shag: I hope you at least Googled Rob’s Jack Torance Overlook reference.

  5. Michael Chiaroscuro says:

    A few more points.

    I only remember the Wild Dog ads and this issue of Who’s Who when it comes to this character. I just remember staring at the ads and wondering who the hell this was for? Certainly not 13 year old me. I suppose I’d read it now for kicks, but I doubt it’s the finest work from Max Allan Collins or Terry Beaty. Funny coincidence: I just read Seduction of the Innocent, a Hard Case Crime novel from Collins with chapter illustrations from Beatty. It’s a fun book, a fictionalized account of the Fredrick Wertham anti-comics crusade era from the 1950s and imagines what would have happened you add murder to the story. It’s a great noir, mystery, pulp book, with loads of stand-in characters for classic comics creators and publishers. I highly recommend it to all y’all comics fans.

    I just got to the Windfall entry and laughed out loud at Rob’s suggestion about names for our twins. And Shag’s correct about my lack of time to run a BATO blog now. But I still appreciate getting my name mentioned every episode for my nonexistent BATO blog. Fun stuff!

    And, you guys will dig this: we dressed the babies as the Wonder Twins for Halloween this year (homemade costumes!) and visited our local comics shop. The staff loved the costumes so we entered the kids in the shop’s Halloween costume contest. And they won a prize – a gift card! So, daddy got to use that prize for himself of course :-)

  6. Siskoid says:

    Suicide Squad’s one of the best comics of the era and of all eras. That’s all I wanted to say.

    Superboy: What’s weird for me is that I’m right now in the middle of From Crisis to Crisis ep.10 all about this story arc. Yes, I’m trying to catch up to a show that’s about to break the 200 mark from the beginning.

    Twister: She was used in Ostrander’s last Suicide Squad story from a few years back (Raise the Flag). Gasp, and Windfall too! (Was this book Ostrander’s shopping list?) I won’t spoil whether they live or die.

    Vanguard: So you decided not to really say anything about them. While I won’t blame you, I still think we should hold Wolfman accountable for basically using a Titans Annual as a pilot to a series about cosmic aliens that may well be even worse than the Omega Men. And then nothing came of it. Maybe it was his killing off of the coolest looking member, I dunno.

    Zymyr: Yes, his people were involved in Invasion! I’ve got something in the works with podcasting partner Bass relevant to this. But I’ve already said too much.

    Shagg, the difference between you reading the appendix names and the twitter follows, is that I’m unlikely to hear my name.

  7. Jeff R. says:

    “Prozhar”? Seriously?

    Omissions this week: well, first off, continuing the Ostrander Firestorm theme for this year, Zastrow should have gotten an entry, so he’s Honorable Mention I. Second and third Honorable Mentions go to Vigilantes III and IV, and the top prize goes to Talos of the Wilderness Sea…just kidding. It’s Shado, of course.

  8. Jeff R. says:

    Also, I’m going to call serious shenannigans on filing Dr. Sivana under ‘S’. Dude didn’t spent three years at Evil Med School for nothing, guys…

  9. Anthony Durso/The Toyroom says:

    All good things must come to an end…at least until the next volume…

    The Cover? Ugh. WTF is going on here? Pablo Marcos? Seriously? Why, why, why?
    Was no one else available? And what’s with the funky techno-bridge thing? Too
    many questions…

    The Reaper: By this point, Alan Scott was already retconned as the GL operating
    in Gotham City by the 40s. In fact, I thought he faced off with the Reaper, forcing
    the villain into obscurity for decades until he tangled with Batman.

    Robin: As much as the Max Allan Collins/Jim Starlin version of Jason Todd is maligned
    I’d love to see an Elseworlds take (much like Claremont’s recent return to the X-Men
    universe) that goes forward with stories with the original version created by Gerry Conway
    and briefly used to great effect by Mike W. Barr on his “Detective Comics” run. Of course,
    I also want my trunks on the outside and done-in-ones too…

    Strikeforce Kobra: Speaking of MWB, as much as I usually love his themed super-villain
    groups as well as Silver Age Sci-Fi Gimmicky Batman Villains, I have to draw the line on
    this one. In fact, I think by this point I had already dropped BATO.

    Suicide Squad: I’ve never been a fan of Luke McDonnell’s art. And yet he was on two high-profile DC team books in a row: Justice League of America and Suicide Squad.

    Twister/Vanguard: Clearly Marv Wolfman’s writing suffered greatly on “New Teen Titans”
    once George Perez left the book as artist and co-plotter. But I don’t think even Perez could
    make these morts into anything halfway decent. After all, he did have a hand in Jericho…

    Watchmen: It’s kind of weird seeing these characters here. And yet, nowhere in Who’s Who
    is there a reference to its contemporary, The Dark Knight Returns. Not even a Carrie Kelley
    Robin IV (at that time) entry?

    The Rorschach vs TDKR Batman that Shag referenced I think was originally part of promo art
    for one of the Countdown to Final Crisis tie-ins, although neither character made the final cut
    in the actual story.

    Looking at these entries again, and coupled with the fact that the appendix takes up extra
    pages, I wonder if some of these could have been shoehorned into other issues, that way
    avoiding what is a crappy and final 5th issue? I know they wanted to showcase some of the
    new characters that appeared post-Crisis but in hindsight there’s nothing great here. This issue
    has a rating of 64% suck IMO…

    All in all I don’t know how you guys do it. You have my continued admiration for making even
    the most pitiful and lackluster issues seem fun and worthwhile. Kudos.

  10. rob! says:

    Not even a Carrie Kelley Robin IV (at that time) entry?

    Jeez, I didn’t even think of that! I guess DC considered TDKR an early Elseworlds story, not actually in continuity, but still…

    1. Anthony Durso says:

      At the time of Update ’87, Elseworlds didn’t exist. It wouldn’t be introduced as a concept until Gotham By Gaslight in 1989.

      Maybe DC didn’t want to muddy the waters of their new universe with the depiction of an out-of-continuity alternate timeline? There’s probably a Carrie Kelley entry somewhere in the multiverse along with one for Kristin “Superwoman” Welles. Xum?

  11. Late to the party this time, but yeah, Robin got screwed AGAIN. There’s probably a follow-up episode of “Behind the Mask” detailing this, but I was too lazy to search for it this time. Not sure why the Spectre is busting a move, either.

    • Reaper: Yes, CLEARLY an inspiration for Phantasm, although, as much as I love the Animated crew, they never admit this, it seems. Poor Mike Barr is always getting robbed of concepts.

    • Robin: Now THAT is a Robin entry. Unlike the 34 year old man-child Tom Mandrake drew, this looks like Jason Todd. And yes, it was Pre-Crisis Jason in the first version of Who’s Who. I don’t care much for this version of Jason, either.

    • StrikeForce Kobra: PlanEt Master (with an “E”) WAS an old Batman villain. Check out this cover and see!!dc/detective/detective296.jpg
    Now where was a new version of the Polka-Dot Man?

    • Suicide Squad: Sorry, that’s one ugly entry. McDonnel’s stuff ran hot and cold for me. His proportions and perspective are WAY off here.

    • Superboy: Man, I really like this entry. Schaffenberger had been the primary artist on The New Adventures of Superboy series of the 80s, so this made lots of sense.

    • Windfall: A very memorable entry, due only to the art. I do have one of those tiny metal RPG figures from Mayfair’s game series, though!

    Oh and Rob, you’re right. The Appendix proves Crisis was a bad move. And Shag, you’re wrong. Helena Wayne was a MUCH more compelling character than Helena Bertenelli. That is all.


  12. Martin Gray says:

    Thanks for another fun episode, lads. So…

    Hate windfall. Sappy look and dull powers.

    Shagg read the appendix. The entire appendix. That was… unexpected.

    Why does the entry not mention that Rip Hunter is from ‘East Landon’? Oh, cos they just made it up for the tellybox. I dunno!

    I’m with Rob on Reaper, no heroes should predate Batman – Golden Age GL and Black Canary should have been relocated with the Crisis. Plus, we’d just had a dark reflection of Batman five minutes earlier in the Wraith.

    Yeah, the Rocket Reds were boring as heck, I hate groups where everyone has the same look and powers. And Russian hero groups in general.

    Did you spot a new Shockwave in the excellent Lois and Clark comic recently?

    Strikeforce Kobra were just one more rubbish Outsiders group, but they did lead to that wonderful Mud Pack story from Grant and Breyfogle.

    Just ignore the pocket universe stuff, it was all lies. Superboy was the adventures of Superman when he was a boy. And Rob is right yet again, that arc Superboy logo is among comics’ best. I was thrilled when it re-emerged in the late Seventies after being supplanted for awhile by the straight-font logo, which had about it an air of constipation.

    The first time I remember sex in DC was Misty in the Superboy Special (ick), then Clark and Lois with the boeuf bourguignon business, then Dick and Kory in bed isn’t New Teen Titans, which rather shocked me.

    Vanguard Hybrid, Hybrid Vanguard, who cares?

    Bring on the next Update!

  13. Wolfgang Hartz says:

    Hi, Shag and Rob
    Something that may be of interest, this is the end of Robert Greenberger time as editor of who’s who material. His first issue as editor was volume 14 of the original series (the one with the four Luthors).
    P.S. Speaking of Jason Todd, I know that during a Death in the Family, comic readers were allowed to vote on whether Jason Todd would live or die. I wandered if either of you voted and if you did, what were your choices?

  14. JoeX says:

    Mmmm Who’s Who time again. Let’s goooooo!

    Do we still have to buy the trade if we bought the issues off the stand?

    Neary was Davis’s regular inker at the time, before Mark Farmer came along.

    I miss the biomechanical genius Kilowog, who is lost to the generic team mechanic and drill sergeant Kilowogs.

    Salaak showed up a few months later at the end of Green Lantern Corps, handwaving away how he was able to travel through time, just too late to stop them from killing Sinestro.

    Tom Mandrake is a great artist, but he is completely wrong for Shazam.

    Speaking of Mandrake, his Spectre was great, but the Moench/Gray Morrow series that preceded it was uneven at best.

    The LaRoque/DeCarlo era of Legion deteriorated both art- and story-wise every issue. This piece looks like a bad Kirby/Ditko fusion.

    Michael, I would love your Outsiders podcast if it covered the original letters pages.

    The Pocket Universe is the second biggest continuity snarl in DC history after Hawkman.
    It showed up a couple of times, with Superman murdering their Phantom Zone villains, and giving us the Matrix Supergoogirl.
    And it popped up in Legion just before Zero Hour, just in time to explode.

    Vanguard, like the Hybrid, is Marv trying to recapture the Omega Men lightning. And failing miserably.

    The Watchmen entry was probably written by Len Wein or Bob Greenberger and culled from Moore’s scripts.

    I don’t know why DC still owns Wild Dog. Collins and Beatty are on record as being more than happy to take it back.
    WD’s costume was specifically supposed to be something anyone could put together from sporting goods and army surplus stores.
    Also, Cinemax is doing a series based on Collins’s Quarry character.

    Vartox is back in the Harley and PG series, and in all his cheesy Zardoz goodness.

    You know, The Warrior just isn’t 80’s enough without the video:

  15. Finally got to listen to all of the feedback. You guys goofed and left off the Karaoke track with Rob singing along with Patty Smythe. I wonder if her dad created the Spider Slayers?


  16. *ahem!*

    OK, Rob, do I take every opportunity to proclaim how much I hate Aquaman? You don’t have to *like* Transformers, but neither do you have to remind me how much you hate it all the time.

    1. Phylemon says:

      Welcome to my world. Long live Jericho!

  17. rob! says:

    I was playing into the stereotype. I do that.

    But in the spirit of the season, recommend to me some good Transformers: a movie, the comic, an episode of the show, etc., and I will give it a fair shake!

    1. Watch the animated movie. It’s a lot of fun. Plus, you’ve got “The Touch”!


      1. rob! says:

        I’ll try it, but it won’t be better than this version:

    2. If you were Shag, I’d just point you to issue #9 of the Marvel Comic and be done with it (I’ll leave the details to your imagination, because the main new character’s costume sure doesn’t…).

      You, however, I’d have to think a lot harder about, and I wonder if it’s worth the trouble. I’m very much with Shag when he says “find your joy,” and Transformers just *isnt’* for everyone. I’d be the first to admit there’s a lot of embarassing stuff in the Transformers franchise. You (and Frank) aren’t going to like the same stuff as me. That’s cool. I don’t come to a Firestorm webpage, nor listen to its associated podcast, expecting to hear Transformers lauded.

      That said, I’ll take a stab. If you can stand to wade through the whole arc, I recommend issues #5-12 of the Marvel run. If I had to pick just a single issue, I’d suggest #8, which introduces the Dinobots (and much of it takes place in Marvel’s Savage Land, in a rare instance of the TF book connec in with Marvel continuity).

  18. Xum Yukinori says:

    Shag, as posted on “my live tweet on Facebook”, I have actually played the Clue VCR game (featuring a butler named “Didit”… there must have been a writer named “Dewy Ghetit”…) ‪

    I did not own the game, I only played it twice at a party, and I recall it was a pretty clever how they managed to make an interactive game with a non-interactive media…

    [Posted via smartphone while trying to wrestle control of a runaway semi-truck from a trio of malevolent ninja hijackers. Rest assured that control was not yet wrestled at the time of this posting, for one should not text and drive…]

    1. I… or more properly, my parents… used to own the Clue VCR game, but I maybe played it once or twice, and that decades ago. The only thing I really could have told you about it from memory is about the butler named “Didit,” which Xum has already mentioned. It’s possible they still have it somewhere, but I’m willing to bet that even if they have it, they have no idea where it is….

  19. Xum Yukinori says:

    Following is a recap from my live tweeting the #FWPodcast out of order on Facebook (I thought I would try Xumthing new…), plus a few additional notes:

    ROBIN: There are rumors going around about that 900-number “Death in the Family” voting resulting in Jason Todd’s death due to one caller that voted 100 times for him to die. One rumor has it that some college kid rigged his computer to constantly call the number; another stipulated that a pharmacist in Omaha Nebraska who happened to be a die-hard Dick Grayson fan called the number 100 times by hand because she “hated that snot-nosed punk pretender like poison”…

    SALAKK: I had always pronounced Salakk as “suh-LOCK”, and was pleased to hear the Green Lantern Animated Series do the same.

    I actually liked the Green Lantern Pol Manning stories… maybe more for the concept of Green Lantern having another secret identity… it is too bad that most of those did not really deal with that concept; instead focusing on the threat of the issue, which were not all that different from the other Green Lantern outer space adventures…

    I believe the Salakk 5708 GL Corps story by Steve Englehart in Green Lantern Corps v1 #214-215 was the only story that truly went deep into the Pol Manning identify aspect, and one of my favorite stories from that era (along with the Rocket Red storyline you had mentioned, Shag…).

    The only other story that did a little than “scratch the surface”, so to speak, was the tale in Green Lantern v2 #51, in which the power ring somehow created a separate Pol Manning, which became evil. This was also the story in which Hal Jordan finally discovered he had 58th century adventures (the process the 58th century Solarite government used to transport him in time would remove Hal’s memory, which is why they provided the Pol Manning identity. And yet somehow they would return him back to his own time with his full memory EXCEPT for his adventures in 5708 AD…).
    Oh, and evil Pol Manning’s criminal sobriquet was… “Dr. Strangehate” (!)

    SPECTRE REVISED: I like that Jim Aparo had drawn this entry… even though he had nothing to do with the regular series at that time. And now that I have a computer, I see that the “Wrath of the Spectre” reprint series came out a few months after this Who’s Who issue, so that may be the connection that brought Aparo in, since he was creating new Spectre covers for the reprint series at roughly the same time.

    SIVANA: I suspect the “next SHAZAM series” mentioned in the inside back cover was the one planned by John Byrne that was never produced. (Great touch with the thunderclap during the Appendix rundown, by the way…)

    STRIKFORCE KOBRA: I also pointed out that the “Planet Master” is really “Planet Master II”, and I admire your research into the entry, Shag.

    SUPERBOY: Eagle-eye readers will notice that I lifted a few paragraphs from this entry for the “Superman of Earth One” spread. And yes, Rob, that is a great logo design. ComicCraft actually sells the Superboy logo font, called “Long Underwear.” I suspect it will cost only $20.16 on January 1. I am sure you can make a snazzy “Superb Rob” logo with that…

    TITANO: “Subject for scientific experiments” – it’s not an occupation, it’s a way of life…

    VANGUARD: To clarify, “at the time of this writing” this group really only appeared in the New Teen Titans v2 Annual #1 in a story that guest starred Superman. I understand they made one other (brief) appearance in an issue of Superman-Batman in the late naughties…

    VIBE: “Breakdancer” – it’s not just an occupation, it’s an adventure…

    WILD DOG: I understand the original premise of this mini-series was a mystery for the readers to figure out the title character’s identity, and that this issue of Who’s Who was released THE SAME DAY as the final issue and thus would spoil the answer for those who read the Who’s Who entry first. Z

    ZYMYR: Thom Zaller has never followed me on a baseball team pick, but he recently followed me on Facebook, so that is something…

    THE APPENDIX: Like other listeners, I do agree with the sad commentary about how so many great concepts from DC Comics’ 50-year history were just swept away post-Crisis. It was nice that some of them were “brought back” post-Crisis with a modern yet respectful retelling (the first Bizarro and Myxyzptlk stories were good examples, in my opinion). It was also a sad reminder that we were not likely to get any more previously omitted golden and silver age entries that should have been in Volume One (like Doll Girl) going forward.

    THE STINGER: Rob, if your 1980s cover album includes some Samantha Fox tracks, I am sold. I have it on good authority that Shag finds her to be “hot”, so that is a bonus…

    MICHAEL CHIAROSCURO: If you ever do start a BATO log, you should name it “The Non-Existent Batman and the Outsiders Blog”… it is a catchy name.

    1. Xum, I’d heard the rumors about the rigging of the Kill-Jason telethon. The funny thing was, had he lived, DC would have probably taken him off stage, and replaced him anyway. Then at some point, other creators would have brought him back as a bitter anti-hero. So his death was pretty hollow after all!


      1. Xum Yukinori says:

        That is most likely true, Chris, given our current hindsight, and despite Rob Kelly’s 50-cent effort…

    2. Martin Gray says:

      I don’t understand why ‘Salakk’ would be pronounced with any vowels other than the two non-ambiguous ones in there. Am I being too Briddish? After all, I still scratch my head at fearsome ‘woryers’ looking in ‘mirs’ to check for ‘squerls’.

      But… Xum, you’re a star so I shall accept it! Just don’t give me any of that J’onn Jonzz with a name that sounds French…

      1. Xum Yukinori says:


        Technically, my pronunciation of Salakk is sah-LAHK, My attempt to type it out more phonetically came out wrong…

        I always thought J’onn J’onnz was pronounced “Yo-hahn, Yo-hahn-izz” myself…

        No, not really… I am teasing…

        1. Martin Gray says:

          It’s like you’re tickling me with a lovely-smelling old comic…

          1. Xum Yukinori says:

            I am just imagining Hugh Laurie saying J’onn’s name with the same delivery of one of the funniest lines in the BlackAdder episode, “Duel and Duality”…

  20. rob! says:

    I’m ashamed to admit, I called in and voted to whack Jason Todd.

  21. Kyle Benning says:

    I really dig Pablo Marcos’ work on the horror genre comics and his work on Conan, but a huge color splash of Superheroes definitely does not play to his strengths. Not a fantastic cover, but still a better cover than Ernie Chan’s cover to Who’s Who #21. SOLOMON GRUNDY NEED A DIET!!!

    I’m a bit surprised by Rob’s stance on Gotham City and not being a fan of heroes or vigilantes existing in Gotham prior to Batman. That surprises me that even Alan Scott being on patrol in Gotham isn’t to his liking. To me it’s always been a nice contrast of having multiple heroes in the same city serve different roles, and I think you get that with the Alan Scott and Batman dynamic. Similarily I like it in Metropolis when other heroes are around handling different sorts of problems than Superman does. You can have multiple heroes fill different roles or niches within the same city, and then in cases where their interests overlap, you have some natural conflict and solid storytelling potential. Steel, Gangbuster, Guardian, etc. were all nice additions to the Metropolis hero scene and Superman supporting cast in the 90’s.

    Back to Batman, Rob, how do you feel about instances where Thomas Wayne went out into the night as Batman, do those stories put you off as well or do they just kind of fall into the “take it or leave it category?”

    Sign me up for the John Beatty Fan Club, I love his inks. He was a great inker for Byrne & Ordway on their post-Crisis Superman run. This era of DC is marked by a lot of great artist with a nice stream-lined, detailed, and realistic art style, like Byrne, Ordway, and Jurgens, and Beatty was a perfect inker for all of them. He’s right up there with Terry Austin for best inkers for Byrne in my book.

    I really dig the Rocket Red and Royal Flush Gang pages, definitely two of the best entries in the issue.


    Shag, I distinctly remember you saying that all women are hot in their own way, so under that logic clearly Twister has to trip some poor soul’s trigger out there. I’m sure she’s everything Pablo Picasso could ever dream of.

    With regards to Terry Beatty and Wild Dog, Terry is from the Midwest and a pretty cool dude, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting him at a few of the local Cons, and had him sign all of the issues of Action Comics Weekly that featured Wild Dog. When he was signing my copy of Action Comics Weekly #638, which has a Jack Kirby Etrigan cover, he smiled and told me what a career highlight this issue was for him. He grew a huge Kirby fan and said it was so surreal having a comic published featuring his artwork on a character he co-created, underneath a cover by the King himself.

    Another great episode, congratulations on wrapping up the second volume and knocking out 31 fantastic episodes of DC Who’s Who coverage (32 if you count the Murphy Anderson tribute compilation episode).

    Fan the Flame, Ride the Wave, and Laugh at the League…or something like that.

    Oh and PS thank you very much for playing my Trailer in your fine podcast!

  22. Frank says:

    1) Oh goodie, the last issue of the first volume of my bound editions of Who’s Who Update, which I’ve been carting to work with me in a little black bag off and on to comment at lunch. Hopefully, probably, notice already in, I won’t still be here when we progress to Update ’88.

    2) Another cover where I have to trot out faint praise like functional and inoffensive. As I recall, ’88 deviates from the design scheme established by Perez, so I might have worse to say about them. I was going to say the only thing wrong with Titano was his looking like a cross-eyed brown Gorilla Grodd, but then I noticed the talons and the heart-shaped skull and the elven ears and I’m going to stop now. The rest of the figures are alright, but the bland renditions of mostly lesser characters gives little to be excited about.

    3) “Catch The Omega Men lightning” is a phrase never before uttered.

    4) Mark Baker-Wright, I stand with Rob Kelly in hating Transformers. He’s on his own with the Outsiders, though.

    A) I tend to defend the Post-Crisis unified Earth continuity, but like Rob, my primary stick in the craw is Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and other iconic pioneers bring relegated to the “Modern Heroic Era” while Johnny Come Lately jackasses like The Reaper steal their thunder. The Gray Ghost owed more to the pulps, so acknowledging that there was a Shadow before the Dark Knight isn’t so bad, but the Reaper is a straight up super-villain. Worse, on the metal album cover scale, Reaper gets four devil horns up to Batman’s two, and why does a retro character concept have such a proto-EXTREME ’90s design (only made more glaring under Todd McFarlane?) I only bought one issue each of the original runs of Year One and Year Two, the former being the last chapter and the latter a middle chapter. I loved one and went on to buy the trade paperback and later the hardcover. I never bothered to read another issue of a Year Two. I like Davis’ art, and the design is striking, but Snider & Capullo should stuff a different type of character into that suit. Maybe a crazy homeless veteran fixated on some dude’s wife who thinks he cut a deal with the devil to come back in a new body?

    B) In theory, I like the idea of time traveling adventurers, but in practice I always find them dull and their escapades meaningless because there’s always some other traveler coming around the corner to kill Hitler or save Lincoln. Oh, you teamed up with The Silent Knight to track down Vandal Savage? I kind of already know how that’s going to turn out. I liked the idea of Rip Hunter being active in the ’50s & ’60s during the period between the JSA & the JLA who had a built in explanation for being available for stories in other times. As a contemporary dude who seems to be a self-appointed chronal cop, snooze. Being adopted by Dan Jurgens for most of the past thirty years doesn’t help.

    C) I love the idea of Batman bringing in a kid who kind of looks like Dick and has a tragic but motivational background to serve in the exact same Robin role, only for this dude to turn out to be a whole different stripe of cat with his own agenda. I don’t know that I even registered that Dick had been replaced when I’d encounter the Pre-Crisis Jason Todd, but I was a fan of this compromised partner beginning with The Cult. I disagreed with killing off Jason, mainly because Batman being forced to deal with his criminal leanings would have been a far more interesting story that his lame gloomboy wailing and gnashing of teeth over teh ded sighkick ala Captain America (see also, Bat & Cat running the exact same stories at the exact same time for about three years between Red Hood/Winter Soldier & death/rebirth.) Being resurrected as vigilante renegade #836 does so little for me that in the face of my not following Batman books anyway, I just pretending he’s still dead. Also, I assume DC was still deep in their embarrassment about the existence of Robin, which didn’t abate until Tim Drake became a breakout hit (just as Dick had done a decade earlier, nitwits.)

    D) I’m with Rob in that while I can see the purpose the Red Rocket Brigade served in the ’80s and am generally fascinated by international super-people, these interchangeable faceless Go-Bot looking mothers do not cut it. Meanwhile, DC has a dearth of classic super-villain teams, and I like the poker theme, but the Royal Flush Gang seem like they fold every hand they’re dealt and generally collapse like a house of cards at the slightest breeze. Please tell me Salakk has been voiced by Rene Auberjonois, because he’s played Salakks throughout his career, and it’s a useful role.

    E) Shockwave was an early Blue Devil villain, so of course I have a fondness for him, and wish the Super Powers figure had come about. He’s got a nice ’80s design. I never bothered to finish Shazam: A New Beginning, and that dour frump isn’t my Sivana. Similarly, Doug Moench’s attempt to turn The Spectre into a lightweight Marvel Bronze Age supernatural hero fell on deaf ears. I don’t know what they were thinking making Starfinger anytime after 1966. Is it wrong that I find Strikeforce Kobra kinda cool looking in a weird way, especially Zebra-Man, and also if I squint and pretend Clayface IV is Cheetah? Between the ginchy costumes, having his own series, and his inflated Mayfair states, I confess to still being overly impressed with Kobra, a guy who’s been defeated by Ambush Bug.

  23. Darrin Sutherland says:

    Hi guys!

    Another great episode. Always love Who’s Who.

    The appendix was a clear example of how DC comics can sometimes drive me away even though I love so many of their characters. Listening to that long list of characters who no longer existed at the time just made me shake my head.

    Thanks for the Warlord Mike Grell / Ron Randall shout out. Yes, we will have fun covering the various overlaps there on both of our shows. We’ll likely cover The Barren Earth backup series with art by Ron Randall from Warlord 63-88 on Trekker Talk while we’ll cover the later Warlord issues drawn by Ron Randall on Warlord Worlds. Lots of great episodes ahead.

    Any excuse to hear Patty Smyth sing The Warrior is a good one. Nice way to end the episode.

    Take care and Merry Christmas!


  24. Jeff R. says:

    Didn’t I hear Glorious Godfrey in that appendix list? But wasn’t he in Legends and thus already established in the post-Crisis DCU by then?

  25. Frank says:

    F) I like Luke McDonnell with an embellisher like Bill Wray, and he was an appropriate choice for Suicide Squad, but the angle and look of this entry leaves a lot to be desired. You guys are way more excited for that Superboy logo than I can muster, and the only reason I can see for getting rid of the adventures of Superman when he was a boy is that John Byrne basically wrote Superman as Superboy. Clark spent half his time back in Smallville getting rookie advise from his living parents while Lana Lang looked on. Also, what was Byrne’s deal with making dark haired beings brown? It makes Titano look about as menacing as Clyde from Every Which Way But Loose. If you’re afraid he looks too much like King Kong, don’t take away his Kryptonite eye beams.

    G) I always confuse Twister with Mindboggler, especially since they both ended up checking out as members of the Suicide Squad. I personally find that I prefer Kerry Gammill to Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, and mourn his not having done the same sort of comprehensive style guide for Marvel. When was the last time you bought a licensed product with art by Keith “Friggin” Pollard, right?

    H) When we closed our comic shop, I took advantage of my partner’s having a house where she was already storing our unsold inventory and threw in a few longboxes of my personal stuff to clear out space in my apartment. They included runs of Aquaman, Hawkman/Hawkworld, Deathstroke, Guy Gardner, New Teen Titans, and more. Then I lost touch with her over the years, and when I tried to get those boxes back, couldn’t find her. Point being, I bought but never read that Vanguard annual once, and don’t see that happening ever again.

    I) I like McDonnell’s take on Vibe much, much, much more than Chuck Patton’s, and despite my longtime dislike of the character, was slowly won over by posthumous appearances and his reworking by Sterling Gates in the New 52. It’s ironic that the greatest contribution I’ve ever made to comic book fandom is that an image I constructed using the Vibe logo from this comic combined with a Tom Derenick image somehow inspired the creation of the title sequence from the DC Nation Vibe short. It felt a bolt from the blue when I first saw it. Don’t worry Shag, I will eventually do a short run Vibe podcast.

    J) I was late to the party on many of the game changing comics of the 1980s. In spite of reading them years late, I was still blown away by Frank Miller’s seminal works (though I find his Daredevil run overrated and Ronin was just plain bad.) On the other hand, I’ve never warmed to Alan Moore, and I feel that beyond his technical achievements that most of his innovations were inevitable, sort of like if Stanley Kuberick had directed the ’80s films of Steven Spielberg. But most importantly, I read Marshal Law before I read Watchmen, so all of my potential admiration was transferred to Pat Mills and Kev O’Neill.

    K) I read Wild Dog when it was coming out, and liked the DIY vigilantism and mystery of his true identity at the time. The actual reveal was weak though, and its low rent practicality failed to cash in on the brutal power fantasy, social satire, or crime/race paranoia that fuels the sub-genre. He was even a straight white blonde male, exactly like Adrian Chase, but without the good looks or operatic motivations or Marv Wolfman & George Perez. Dude had no reason to exist beyond Collins/Beatty wanting a potentially profitable mainstream project.

    1. Martin Gray says:

      Thanks Frank, I’d never seen that Vibe short. I’m a bit uncomfortable with Professor Dr Ivo being the baddie, and swearing to get him one day. Poor Paco.

      And nice one with the logo!

  26. Frank says:

    L) I’m not sure if I’ve ever been placed in a position where I had to read a comic featuring Windfall. Not into that costume. I wonder if some editor had a problem with the cartoonyness of this Unknown “John” Bogdanove and had veteran inker John Beatty lay the heavy brush on him. Jon handled young heroes very well on Power Pack, so I figure the ambiguity here lay in the embellishment. Y’smalla showed up way too late in the Warlord series to even be a passing concern. Good on Zymyr for avoiding an apostrophe or other spelling affectation, though his logo teases one, and he is a Gill Dishpan (not spell-corrected.)

    *) That wrinkle in the Cain & Abel story was genius (Moore?) Once again, given all the shade thrown Hawkman’s way, Wonder Woman’s reboot does not get criticized enough for its butterfly effect on stuff as random as Amazo’s powers. Surely somebody is going to license Atari Force at some point, but it makes me wonder if DC owns at least some of the characters (Hukka was in the Ambush Bug Showcase.) I’ll remind everyone that Baron Blitzkrieg was a Bronze Age Wonder Woman creation/foe that decoupled Post-Crisis. Why does Batman have three different Batcaves (at least,) and why didn’t I already know that? The Joker gets to kill everybody, and the ones Killer Croc got to kill, he lost to Two-Face and the Joker, who then killed the kid sidekick whose parents Croc used to be able to claim. I used to run a blog called The Flame of Py’tar that mostly just reran Despero related stuff from the Idol-Head, and technically still exists. Did the Freedom Fighters get Ian Karkulled, or did they actually get old? The Martian Manhunter appendix has some of the most vital information of the lot (P.S. No such place as “Apex City,” Scipio.)

    5) I thankfully was already fond enough of Lois Lane from outside comics that I didn’t sour to the character as others did from Byrne’s interpretation. However, the creative team I most credit for actively making me like Lois Lane again went unmentioned in the feedback section, Louise Simonson & Jon Bogdanove on Man of Steel. Their interpretation of Lois, along with Dana Delany on Superman: TAS, Ed McGuiness, and Teri Hatcher on Lois & Clark are the ones that come foremost to mind when the character is brought up.

    6) I’m telling you, the Suicide Squad will eventually have a mission in Russia where all these Cold War Super Soviets have been divvied up by oligarchs and now wear tacky suits and way too much make-up, like Jersey Shore adapted for Moscow.

    7) Understanding green Parasite hate: make the Hulk purple for several years without offering any explanation or reason for the change. Have him battle only Darkhawk and Nova villains, again, without offering any rationale.

    8) I’ve got a “love the sinner, hate the sin” mentality when it comes to the Updates. They’re still Who’s Who in a basic way, but the first volume attempted to be a comprehensive overview of 50 years worth of DC Comics. Where OHOTMU would take some hoary Marvel Golden Age character and have them drawn by a contemporary artist who would then be inked by Joe Rubinstein to keep the whole project uniform and palatable to modern readers, DC embraced idiosyncratic artists often personally associated with characters and concepts from a multiverse of companies and sensibilities. What I wanted from the Updates was a mix of characters who were missed in volume one, necessary revisions of previous entries, and coverage of new characters. We only got two of the three, and not only did unjust omissions stand until the age of internet wikis, but the emphasis of the other two was on modern creators fitting a house style and selling “the next big thing” as a DC Focus-like advertorial. Instead of continuing to be its own thing, Who’s Who tried to act more like OHOTMU, and the result was far more flat coverage of too many untested characters unworthy of the attention who all represent a brief moment in publishing time. That mentality hurt OHOTMU as well, leading to the worst example of all these sorts of reference periodicals, the looseleaf Master Edition, whose main contribution to the culture was lifeless turnaround style guides of hideous ’90s costumes.

    9) Thanks for the shout-out to the Martian Manhunter 60th anniversary special part one, but I’m still holding out on part 2. Given the wealthy of Supergirl interviews that came out last week, I’m glad I’ve waited. Also, I’ve already got the basics for constructing a Who’s Who: Martian Manhunter edition in 2016, given the obvious need once Commander Blanx is revealed on Supergirl and the Human Squirrel turns up on Arrow. I’ll be in touch.

  27. Phylemon says:

    Well, I guess it’s time to bid a fond farewell to ’87. Can’t say that this version of Who’s Who was my favorite, but I’m hoping ’88 will be more up my alley (really looking forward to Star Trek and LHS, though). On to some brief comments:

    1. I can’t believe no one has said this yet. Robin’s pose on the cover is payback for the Lady Blackhawk image of a few issues ago. A little something for the ladies. He might not have Zinda’s, um, assets, but no one can deny that the kid has a pair of gams on him.

    2. Reaper- I kind of like the color scheme on the surprint here. I won’t deny it washes out the image some, but it makes it atmospheric in a way appropriate for this character. Side note: I like the surprint much better than the character himself.

    3. Rip Hunter- I had totally forgotten about the “you can only use a method of time travel once” idea. That’s almost Silver-agey in its goofiness, except that it was designed to limit the fun and craziness of the Silver Age.

    4. Rocket Reds- I really like the art on this entry. It goes to show that Joe Staton can do some nice work when he doesn’t have to draw faces.

    5. Strike Force Kobra- I’m sure this will earn me jeers, but I love these guys. Don’t get me wrong. These guys don’t have the inherent coolness of the Force of July, People’s Heroes, or any of the other theme teams Barr designed specifically to go into battle against the Outsiders, but I love the notion that someone remembered these kooky foes of Batman’s bygone days. I also love the idea that, within the continuity of DC comics, there is not just one guy, but a whole slew of people saying things like, “Hey, you remember that guy Batman fought? No, not Joker. No, I’m talking about Zebra-Man. He was the coolest!” I mean, c’mon, a group of people getting together and forming a community out of their love for the lesser characters of their world. Seems somewhat familiar to me.

    6. If there is anything I can say about this update of Who’sWho it is that it has finally broken down my resistance and left me no choice but to give Suicide Squad a try. I’ve picked up the two trades that have come out and am planning on reading them during the Christmas break.

    7. Superboy- I am in love with this entry if only because I refuse to actually read the text, which is full of the pocket universe nonsense. The art is lovely, though, and seeing it as a two page spread with the equally Silver Agey Titano concept makes it even better.

    8. Vanguard- Everything in me wants to defend these guys, but, honestly, I got nothing here.

    9. Watchmen- Yeah, the layout to me shows that this entry was supposed to fall as it did, on a single sheet of paper, and not as a two page spread as was suggested. It’s hard to not see that decision as a subtle way of saying, “Hey, these guys are different and don’t really fit in with the rest of the entries in this issue.” Maybe I’m reading too much into it, though.

    10. Windfall is the kapow moment of this issue, for me at least. Everything about the artwork is beautiful, fun, and perfection. I miss heroes who smile.

    11. The appendix is eight pages of depression. We won’t ever settle the debate, but I’m on the side that says that, although the story itself is entertaining, COIE was unnecessary and did more harm than good. These pages, filled with character after character who “never existed in the recreated DC Universe” reminds me of an abusive brother in law I once had. One day, in a fit of anger over the mess he saw in his living room as my nephew was playing with his toys, scooped up all of those toys and threw them in the trash instead of neatly putting them in the toy box to be pulled out and played with on another day.

    Anyway, thanks for the hard work, gentlemen, and I’ll look forward to next month.

  28. Hey everyone, I have not listened in quite a while (mostly because I cannot get the podcast to play on MP3 player, hence I cannot listen while driving anymore), but I did want to quickly comment and give a huge THUMBS UP to Shag and Rob for their continued work Fire & Water, and Who’s Who in particular. As a podcaster I know the amount of prep and time that goes into recording a show this long, as well as the massive amount of post-production work to make it presentable to the audience. So kudos to you guys and the work you do and here’s to more success in 2016.

  29. Stella says:

    1) I am right there with Rob when the sport Hai Alai is mentioned and automatically associating it with Mad Men. I guess it serves Pete Campbell right!
    2) I laughed twice (only twice): once when Shag started singing ‘Starfinger!’ and also when he said that if you put the pages together the characters can kiss.
    3) Finally, it is a sad end of an era. Thank you for the fun and informative episodes!

Leave a Reply to Earth 2 Chris